For an IT company, the choice of Anti Virus software is very important. For a company like Extreme Networks managing over 5,000 desktops and servers, getting the AV choice right has a huge impact across a range of
- It needs to be easy to manage.
- It needs to consume as few resources as possible.
- It needs to be easy to deploy.
- It needs to stop viruses!
- It needs to be cost-effective.
Which Anti Virus have we been using?
For over the last 12 years Extreme Networks has been using Webroot. Webroot has been an incredibly popular AV solution. When it was introduced to most Australian MSPs by Kerry Moseley, it was very cost-effective, lightweight, and most importantly, very effective. This was a long time ago. Over the last 18 months, we have had a series of incidents that gave us significant concerns about how effective it has become.
I decided to ask the question at our local SMBiT Pro meeting. There were quite a few people who spoke glowingly of the glory days of Webroot, but sadly, there was only 1 other company using Webroot. Many had migrated over the last 5 years. Common problems were the management of the console and a general lack of innovation in the product.
What is wrong with Webroot Antivirus?
Firstly the usual robust channel seems to have collapsed over the last probably 24 months. Obviously, we have had COVID, but many Vendors have invested in their channel realising that it was important to be closer to their customers. Channel management is really important because it ensures that engineers are properly trained, customers are getting a great price and issues can be rapidly escalated. Until recently, we weren’t aware that there was a channel any more for Webroot.
Lack of Support
From a software management point of view, the console needs to be easy to use, but we have had significant issues with Webroot losing communications with the endpoints and the process to fix this has been quite difficult. Support from Webroot has not been ideal and this has meant a lot of time for our engineers trying to fix Webroot issues, rather than working with our epic customers.
3 year contracts 🙁
Two years ago we signed a 3 year contract. Evidently. Webroot were very keen to remind us of the 3 year contract, and yet they have not been able to produce it, stating that the contract rests with the distributor. We don’t remember signing anything just accepting over an email, although there were no Ts and Cs. For us the concern is that in our opinion Webroot is not fit for purpose. We suspect that the R&D budget has been cut. Interestingly enough, Webroot was bought in 2019 by Carbonite (Opentext). The apparent decrease in R & D has seemed to have lead to lack of innovation and an anti-virus product that does anti-virus very well.
Unreliable Anti Virus
The biggest issue has been Webroot’s inability to protect our customers. AV will never catch every virus or piece of malware, but it should be pretty solid. We have had issues of Webroot detecting a threat, but not being able to stop it and also Webroot not finding an issue, but it being picked up by Windows Defender!
Bitdefender vs Webroot
We started interviewing AV vendors and Bitdefender seemed to be the best. A cost effective application that greatly assists with patch management and a range of other security related issues. The product seems light years ahead, so we have rolled out trial sites to determine if it as good as it appears. Our next steps will be to migrate our customers across to it ASAP.
Why not wait until the end of the contract?
For us, the move to Bitdefender, whilst costly both in the money spent paying for 2 lots of Antivirus and the cost in time to migrate all of our customers, for a number of reasons.
- Extreme Networks has been around for 21 years. We view our relationships with Vendors and Distributors as critical to our success and we know trust is critical. The trust with Webroot just isn’t there.
- We need a product that is easy to manage when there are over 1,000 endpoints that need to be managed. Every issue costs money because Anti Virus is a low-value product. We just want something that works and is simple to manage.
- The last but most important reason is that we MUST have a product that we have confidence in that will protect our customers. This is critical!
Webroot trying to hold us to a 3 year contract is pretty old school. We don’t usually play those games. Especially a contract that no one can produce. The peace of mind for our customes is worth more than they are going to sting us for 12 months of AV.